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One of my favourite gospel songs is based on Psalm 104, Bless the Lord O My Soul, sometimes referred to as 10,000 reasons.
The Psalm isn’t really that long and is written by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, this song has stirred many people with its melody and lyrics praising the awesomeness of God. There is even a book that has been published about the song and the effect that it has had on many people.
But time and time again when I hear this song, I am drawn to an event in Australia’s recent history where two Australians were executed in Kerobokan prison in Indonesia.
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were part of the ‘Bali 9’ drug trafficking ring, arrested by Indonesian authorities in 2006 in Bali, and as co-ringleaders they were sentenced to death, and on 29 April 2015, they were executed after having refused a blindfold.
As they were led out and then having the shots ring out in the early morning, Chan and Sukumaran sang Amazing Grace, then 10,000 Reasons.
During the many years that they had to wait for their execution, Chan and Sukumaran devoted themselves to help others that were in prison. They taught English, computing skills, produced art, and more importantly for them, they came to rely upon the sure hope that we have in Jesus.
They even enrolled in certificate courses in Biblical Studies, and worshipped the Lord in their prison.
And they prayed – a lot.
In 2013, Andrew Chan said:
“When I got back to my cell, I said, ‘God, I asked you to set me free, not kill me.’ God spoke to me and said, ‘Andrew, I have set you free from the inside out, I have given you life!’ From that moment on I haven’t stopped worshipping Him. I had never sung before, never led worship, until Jesus set me free.”
These two gentlemen who had every course of appeal rejected, had found peace with their God.
The lesson for everyone in this story is that in the darkest of times, you can lean into Jesus and his love.
In spite of the hardship of Kerobokan, they had found the Amazing Grace of our Lord.
Faith in Jesus does not make things easy, it makes them doable.
If you wish to know more, please ask us, and remember that we have 10,000 reasons to praise him in the best times, but this one reason can suffice in the worst: He is God.
Bless the Lord, oh my Soul, Oh my Soul, Bless the Lord.